Tyreke Evans once had a jumper, Calipari may have lost it, now Reke wants it back

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Thumbnail image for Evans_3.jpgYou’ve seen the video from this summer: Tyreke Evans in the gym just knocking down three after three.

But have you seen the video of Tyreke Evans just knocking down jumpers from high school?

Sam Amick of FanHouse has, because he was in Evans’ house when the brothers that have always been by Evans’ side showed it to him. While Evans was watching, they were all at Evans home.

It’s a fantastic bit of reporting (go read the entire thing), giving a little depth to the “Evans is in the gym working on his jumper” reports that we hear about seemingly every player this time of year.

Evans could drain the three in high school but shot just 27 percent from deep in his one year at Memphis and 25 percent last year with the Kings. He got away with it because he can get into the lane and to the rim as well as anyone (he took 8.4 shots a game at the rim last season, 7.9 from everywhere else combined). But that drive is so much more effective if you can make teams fear the outside shot.

What happened to it?

His brothers blame John Calipari. As they see it, the then-Memphis coach scared the confidence right out of Evans, gnawing on his ear every time the he dared to shoot a jumper instead of blowing by the line of helpless defenders. The style worked just fine for the Tigers, who went 33-4 and lost to Missouri in the third round of the NCAA Championships in Evans’ one season.

Now, however, those closest to Evans say it’s working against him.

“I don’t blame anybody, but I think coach Cal looked at is like, ‘Hey, you know what? This kid can get to the basket any time he wants, so let’s play him to his strength,” said Tony Bergeron, Evans’ coach at the Aston, Pa. high school. “(But) I used to have a fit watching his Memphis games. I’d be screaming at the TV, saying ‘Shoot!'”

Now there’s the question of confidence. Early on next season NBA teams are going to dare Evans to take and make the jumper, to really prove he can do it under fire. If it starts to fall that will change, and Evans will have to pick when to shoot and when to drive. A couple missed shots one game and he could revert to form.

It’s a process. But Evans gets that what he needs to do next is add a jumper to his arsenal. Or, more accurately, go find the one he had.